Favorite thing: It is a part of the grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, the great Cretan writer (1883-1957). His novels have been translated in many languages. The grave is at Martinego bastion, the view from there is good enough. It is written: "I don't hope anything. I'm not afraid of anything. I'm free"... You can even buy a T-shirt with this motto in Irakleio or Plaka of Athens...
Favorite thing: It is the only one museum of its kind in Crete, about 5 km south of Irakleio, near Knossos. You see there effigies of animals, collections of plants, fossils, beds of rock, photos. A small botanical garden is at the courtyard of the building.
Favorite thing: These lions are a part of the drinking fountain of Morozini, at Venizelos square. The fountain was made in 1628 by Morozini, who was the governor of the city in the 16th century. The decoration of the fountain is based on the greek mythology.
Favorite thing: This castle is at the entrance of the venetian port (15th century). Its venetian name is Rocca al Mare. Near it, you can see the old dockyard. The castle (Koules) is used nowadays for concerts during the summer...
Visit Knossos, an important city in antiquity, which was inhabited continiously from the Neolithic period until the 5th century AD. Here the main attraction is Minoan palace, built on Kephala hill. According to tradition it was the seat of the wise king Minos, the son of Zeus and Europe. The Palace of Knossos is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labirinth, with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Ikaros.
Fondest memory: I was impressed by the whole site of the Palace of Knossos, the wisdom of our fore-fathers and beautiful peacocks walking to and fro in the park.
Favorite thing: The Southern coast - If you look for a relaxed holiday, then you'd better think about the Southern coast of Crete. It's more difficult to be reached, there's no road along the coast line, so that you must drive through long and winding roads to overpass the mountains or the valleys of the creeks running down from the tall mountain of Central Crete: it's worth remembering Mt. Ida has a permanent snow cap. Southern Crete offer a lots of little spots, with difficult connection, but you may find excellent secluded beaches and places where rest and great sea bathing is guaranteed. Paleochora is an isolated gem on the Eastern side: nice and large beach, every kind of typical tourist comfort; Sfakia and Agia Galini are similar, but a more accessible; Matala is not what it was (see below); at the end, Ierapetra has a very large beach. There a couple of places I especially recommend: Agia Roumeli and Tsoutsouros, I'm talking about them extensively below.
The Northern coast - This is the where most of the tourist targets are situated: huge hotels and camping sites, night clubs and disco, international cuisine, entertaining; the Northern coast has also warmer waters, wide beaches and the most beautiful towns. From East to West you may find: Kastelli (not bad, isolated, far from the main tourist circuit) - Chania (most ships arrive/leave from its harbour, which is a bit out of the town in aplace called Souda; it's very crowded, the line of bars and taverns around the old port is impressive, but - unfortunately - the number of people eating, smoking, talking, singing, drinking is so huge the atmosphere is
completely lost) - Irakleion (the capital town of Crete, a nice Venetian fortress and a nice ancient port) - Malia is what you see in the picture (hotels, hotels, hotels and a few hotels more) - Agios Nikolaos (the charming place for nice people to meet; expensive, crowded. Worth a visit, but not longer than a couple of hours) - Siteia is the same as
Malia - Vai (on the most Western tip of the island, Vai was a wonderful place where the beach is surrounded by palm trees and oleanders, now it's so crowded it's difficult to enjoy its peculiar anvironment)
Favorite thing: No visit would be complete without a visit to Rethymnon, which is 77 km from Iraklion. West of the harbor is the Fortetsa, said th be the largest Venetion castle. Also worth seeing are the Rimondi Fountain, which lies between the harbor and fortress.
Favorite thing: The harbor at Hania, 59 km from Rethymnon, is crete's 2nd largest city. You must visit the Firkas Sea Fortress, which houses the naval museum. It was where the king of Greece first raised the national flag in 1913. Also worth visiting is the Archeological Museum.
Do not just limit yourself to just this one city. There is much to be seen on other parts of the island. Give yourself at least 2 days in Chania and an extra one if you plan to hike the Samaria Gorge.
Fondest memory: A German Archeology Professor on sabbatical befriended me and acted as my guide at Knososs and the Archeological Museum. He was able to answer many questions for me and point out the pieces with the most historical significance such as the bee pendant and Phaestos disc.
Favorite thing: just walk around a mountain village is a very nice experience, we were offerd milke and grapes to taste and had a nice talk in English of cource. Only an English conversation is possible with the younger once.
go to the Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC). It offers the visitors a unique chance of a rich experience on the natural environment of Crete and its distinctiveness, as it reveals from the ecologically and culturally complex landscape of the Eastern Mediterranean. There are realistic models of biotopes, animal and plant collections, as well as plenty of photo material, and you can discover the natural beauty of Crete and continental Greece. Forests, phryganic and maquis vegetation, marshes, caves, rocky and sandy beaches, mountain massifs as well as special presentations on threatened animals (sea mammals, birds, etc), are some of the topics of the permanent exhibition.
Address: 157 Knossou Av., the road leading to the ancient palace of Knossos.
visit the The Archaeological Museum
This museum houses the most important collection of Minoan art and artefacts anywhere in the world. Twenty galleries on two floors display the exhibits in chronological order from the Neolithic Period to the Greco-Roman period. The magnificent Minoan frescoes are displayed in the upstairs rooms.
Favorite thing: Go to Knossos. That´s where our culture comes from!it is definately a place to see, but it´s so old that there is almost nothing original left from it. Still they have done an unbelieveable job rebuilding it! But the stories are great and if you have a good guide and good imagination...it´s really an experience! It´s living history from 4000years ago!
Dance!Cretan dancing is known for its vitality. A famous Cretan dance is the Pentozali. The Pentozali, danced throughout Crete, was done by armed warriors during ancient times. The rhythm is provided by a Cretan lyre and the dancers, holding hands, start dancing slowly in a circle. As the music quickens, so do the steps and the dance reaches a frenzy speed, ending suddenly when the lyre does.
Another well-known dance is the Syrtos. The Syrtos is lead by a dancer who skilfully and energetically leads the group. The leader provides the initiative for the dance and will do a variety of complicated steps, while being supported by the line of backup dancers, doing more mild steps.